Skills at all levels key to economic resilience

ColegauCymru’s latest policy report, ‘Building a better Wales - lessons from Europe’, was launched at the FE and Future Skills cross party group (CPG) meeting on 24 September 2019.

Prior to the meeting, CPG Chair, John Griffiths AM, had earlier highlighted the importance of the report during the National Assembly for Wales plenary session on 17th September.

 At the event, the audience heard how the report sets out to explore the relationship between higher level skills and economic resilience, and examines how Wales can make the most of the knowledge and experience shared by our partners in other European countries. As the political climate within the UK, and across the wider world, remains uncertain, issues of economic resilience and how to better prepare for economic shocks are ever more important.

The findings were presented by Dr Mark Lang, a leading member of the research team and panel members then responded to the report and recommendations, followed by a discussion session with the audience. Sharon James, Deputy Principal, Cardiff and Vale College said, “Higher level skills are just one part of the jigsaw - to create a resilient economy, we need a really strong skills sector that is robust and develops skills from entry level, right up to level 7”.

Responding on behalf of the National Assembly, Blaenau Gwent AM, Alun Davies, who has previously held a number of Cabinet posts, including a crucial period as Minister for Further Education, showed his support for the report. He highlighted the importance of European collaboration and learning from best practice. Speaking to ColegauCymru, Mr Davies said “I thought it was an excellent report. I think one of the things we need to do in Wales is constantly expose ourselves to the experience and ideas of elsewhere, so we’re constantly looking for new opportunities to learn from other people - to learn from success, but also learn from things which haven’t gone so well, we understand what other people are doing across the European mainland.”

Dr Rachel Bowen, Direct of Policy and Public Affairs at ColegauCymru, said “The CPG discussion of our ‘Building a Better Wales’ research was wide-ranging and helpful, covering everything from the role of higher education, how to reflect learner voice, decarbonisation and the Wales we want to be in the future. We’d like to thank all participants for their contribution and encourage everyone to reflect on how we can work together to implement the recommendations in the report. We are also grateful for the funding received from the European Union via an EACEA grant to EQAVET National Reference Points.”

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